NBA superstar LeBron James on Tuesday lashed out at an H&M advertisement of a black child modelling a hoodie with the inscription “coolest monkey in the jungle” that has sparked outrage and accusations of racism.
James is the latest public figure to criticise the Swedish clothing giant, which apologised and removed the online shopping ad.
“@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up!” James said in an Instagram post which included a photo of the same ad, but with a crown superimposed on the boy’s head, and the text on the hooded sweater replaced by a crown.
“Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied!” the athlete said.
“We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong,” James added.
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@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain't going for it! Straight up! Enough about y'all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that's what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove❤️ #LoveMyPeople🤴🏾👸🏾👨🏾⚖️👩🏾⚖️
A generic photo of the hooded sweatshirt without the modelling child is still available online.
“You do know that monkey is a known racial slur to black people right?” style blogger Stephanie Yeboah tweeted on Sunday.
H&M is one of several major companies to be hit by an advertisement scandal in recent years.
In October last year, skincare brand Dove apologised after it was accused of racism for airing a commercial showing a black woman turning into a white woman after removing her top.
And Spanish clothing brand Zara in 2014 removed a striped pyjamas with a yellow star after facing outrage over its resemblance to clothes worn by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps.